I am Stop with the Bunny Claus Mum

When did Easter become such a big deal?

Now, before I come across as a Negative Nelly here, let me clarify that I LIKE Easter.

I like it for lots of reasons. Mainly the fact that it is accompanied by holidays, better weather and chocolate. It’s also a great excuse to enjoy Easter dinners, visit family and to meet up with friends.  And it is the time of year where it’s finally acceptable and not weird to wear yellow. What’s not to like?

As kids, Easter meant the end of the drudgery of lent. It meant a lot of services and masses, but it was all topped off by the family occasions and meals and wearing of the good clothes.  It meant cousins visiting and mostly, it meant CHOCOLATE.  The first taste of chocolate melting on your tongue after having had it banned for 40 days, was AMAZING!

Now, Easter is as big an event as Christmas for many.  Houses are decorated. Holidays are planned. New outfits are worn. People go all out. And if you do, good for you. But I have ONE tiny, ickle, niggly little issue that quite honestly is grinding my springtime gears.

The Easter Bunny.

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Why? Because my daughter asked me last week:

“When do we write our letters to The Easter Bunny?”

“Sorry…whodeewhatnow?”

“Why would you be writing a letter to the Easter Bunny?”

“So he can bring me toys?”

“The Easter Bunny doesn’t bring toys.”

“He does.  Japonica says that he is bringing her Shopkins and a scooter.”

What the actual?

Unless it is Japonica’s birthday on Easter Sunday, why the heck she would be getting big gifts like this is beyond me.

The Easter Bunny used to be a symbol.  A thing associated with Easter.  Like the Easter Egg. Now apparently, The Easter Bunny is like the Santa Claus of Springtime. The Easter Bunny, now leaves presents for some kids apparently…the little fecker.

Why?  Because somemum (or Dad), somewhere, decided to treat their little Darling to something nice, which is their prerogative, but in their wisdom, left it as a treat “from the Easter Bunny.”

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Now, if  parents decide to buy things for their kids, for their own reasons, with their own money, in their own home, is their OWN business. Give them what you want, but let them know that they are from YOU… Not a magic bunny.

When you start something that your little one is obviously going to share at school (because let’s face it, presents are CLASS regardless of who leaves or brings them!), you might be causing a problem for others.

You are adding pressure to parents who already have enough to be dealing with. There are parents who don’t think their kids need any more gifts or toys 3 months after Santa has been. There are parents who depend on the 3 for 2 sales to buy Easter Eggs for their kids.  There are parents who depend on family members to buy the eggs.  There are parents who are still paying off Christmas.

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Keep them apart please

Christmas is already difficult. It is already full of traditions that should you choose to follow, can be contentious and unfair.  We have already cultured our kids into expecting gifts on December 25th and we all know that the “How come Santa bought HIM a pony but only bought me a bike?” conversation will happen at some stage. But as a society, we have learned to deal with that. We are accustomed to it and we practice our excuses and explanations. And we have a full year to plan and save for it.

Why, oh WHY do we want to be doing it twice a year?

Stop it.

Make Easter whatever you want it to be. Go to mass.  Don’t.  Wear yellow. Don’t. Stay in your PJS. Don’t.  Go out for lunch. Don’t. Buy eggs. Don’t.  Paint eggs. Don’t.  Organize an egg hunt in your garden…or don’t.  Whatever you do, on your own home, good for you, but but for the love of St. Cadbury, don’t start some extortionate rumour mill among the kiddies that the fricken Easter Bunny will bring toys if they’re good. Leave that job to Santa Claus.  We don’t need a Vice-Santa.

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This is just plain creepy

Now, I probably should go buy some Easter eggs. And I might need a yellow dress. But will my little Bunny be writing a letter of request to the Easter Bunny?

Eh, no. No she won’t.

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I am Some Christmas Reality Mum

Christmas.

I LOVE it! I love everything about it.  I love the sparkle, the sounds, the smells, the smiles.  I love the kindness. I love how it brings out the best in so many people.

But what I don’t love, is the pressure placed on us by the interweb to create magical, Christmas card worthy Hallmark moments. It’s started already; Instagranny and Bookface are full of pictures of beautiful trees and perfect living rooms.  None of us posted the mess of them being put up though did we!? Myself included.  Of course not.  We want to show the world our best smile don’t we? We want to give the general idea that we’ve gont our sh*t together.

MY Christmas Eve shall be fablis. Here’s how it shall look if I post it online.

Some last minute, calm and fun shopping in town, a family breakfast with my siblings and all of our minions, a quick visit to the grandparents’ homes and then home, where Mammy will wear her apron and help the girls make homemade cookies for Santa, create perfect Belgian hot chocolate for them before snuggling up to watch a movie.  Then, I prep all of the veg etc for Christmas dinner.  Then, as Daddy bathes the girls and gets them ready for bedtime, Mammy shall pour a little drop of mulled wine and begin creating the turkey. We shall have some hearty homemade soup for tea and mammy shall double check her lists to ensure that all is done.  In a whirlwind of excitement, the girls shall leave out their fablis homemade cookies, a carrot and some milk for Santa. They’ll sprinkle reindeer food on the steps and go to bed, happy and excited.

Then, Daddy shall pop a bottle of bubbles, we’ll finish wrapping presents and then we’ll cozy up on the sofa and wait for Santa.

REALITY CHECK

The last minute shopping will not be calm and fun, unless you have someone to sit in the car with minions while you pop in and out of shops.

Family breakfast WILL be fun, but it will most likely also be filled with nyaming and crying, with things like “She’s sitting on meeee”, “He got more berries” and “Stop that nonsense now!”.  The adults will eat breakfast, pretending to have jovial conversation, but really just throwing random and disconnected statements at each other between bouncing the kids.

Visiting – Yes, but the over excited and wound up kiddies will be needing a sleep by then and there is a high chance of tantrums forecast once a loving and caring  Grandparent enters the room.  Add sugar before wrestling kids into car.  Perfect!

Bake cookies:  Buy a box of cookie mix. Add an egg and there you go.  Mary Poppins indeed.

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My favourite!

Hot chocolate: Not Belgian.  Not fancy.  Straight from the coffee machine pods. Plop in the marshmallows and she’s happy out..

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Sure why not?

Movie:  In my head it’s Miracle on 34th Street, in reality it’ll be ELF again for 38 minutes before Ben and Holly return.  And it’ll be grand, because Mammy will realistically be watching it from the kitchen.

Homemade soup: HAHAHAHAHA! I’m not that organised.  I go to Mum’s on Christmas Eve and steal a lunchbox full of hers.  No point in both of us making it, is there?

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Mulled wine:  Buy a jar or packet. Slosh in some cheap wine and orange juice.  Done.  (Oh, and if you don’t like mulled wine, why the heck are you making it?)

Prepping dinner:  This I DO do.  Not because I’m Mary Poppins, but because the only thing any Mammy needs to be peeling on Christmas Day is the paper off presents (or the foil of my Chocolate Orange!)  PS.  Did you know you can buy PRE-PEELED SPUDS!?  Go for it Mammy.  It’s Christmas after all!

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Do you really need baubles on the plates?

Lists:  Once you’re home, scrap the lists. Whatever you haven’t bought by then, doesn’t need bought.  I will do a last To Do list, just to remind me of what needs done before I can sit on my backside for a few glasses of grapes later.  TIP: Write some stuff you’ve already done so you’ll feel better that there are a few lines through it already.

Bedtime: Yes it will be exciting, but it will also be frantic with two children who can’t control their highly stimulated and sugar induced emotion, and full of threats of “If you’re not sleeping, Santa won’t come”.  Eventually, Mini-Me will succumb to sleep, but them going straight to bed and nodding off instantly is as possible as me getting a Chanel coat. Then you get to start to tidy and clean and do all the other stuff that needs doing, just like every other day.  And who will notice or care if your sitting room looks perfect?

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Warning… lasts a maximum of 3 minutes!

Presents: If you don’t like wrapping stuff, don’t.  Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy curled ribbons.  They do not need to be Pinterest worthy.  Tell people the kids wrapped them, or better still, buy Christmas gift bags.  Sorted.  Santa doesn’t have time to wrap presents in my mind. Santa has better things to do.

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I wrapped these myself…not!

Waiting for Santa?  Yeah.  After 2 hours of tiptoeing about the place, forgetting where things are and trying not to wake the kids with rustling bags, as you try not to KILL each other!   Then you finally sit down to “relax” before realising that the kids will be up in, oh… approximately 4 hours!

Seriously though.

Relax.

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What’s in that cup Mammy?

Christmas will come and go. It is magical and wonderful, but it is also what you make it. I just HOPE my Christmas is exactly as I have described, because cheats and realities and all, it’s MY perfect. No one else’s.

The Christmas inspector is not going to visit on Christmas morning to check if your home in Hallmark worthy.  NO ONE actually cares that you wrap EVERY SINGLE ONE of the presents.  No one cares what your kids get from Santa.  No one cares if you have your hair brushed. No one cares if you’re all in matching PJs. And the only person whose opinion matters on these things, is you.

While we like to see people we like and care about looking happy on Christmas morning, remember that you are under NO obligation to post pics  or share ANYTHING on social media.  You are also under no obligation to even look at other people’s photographs on social media.

If looking at other’s “perfect Christmas” makes you feel crappy, put down the device and look at what’s in front of you .

Chances are, your perfect Christmas is right there in front of you…in the real world. Chaos and all.

Enjoy it!

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I am Surviving a Mary-of-the-Poppins Christmas Mum.

 

This week’s Thoroughly Modern Mammy column for Donegal Woman is an updates post on Christmas Survival for the Mary of the Poppins types…

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“Surviving Christmas,” “Christmas Survival Tips for the Working Mum”, “How to Survive Christmas”…

I googled these last night.

Some of the “advice” online is nothing short of HILARIOUS.  I fear most of it may have been written by one of the following:

🎄Mary of the Poppins herself

🎄Someone without kids

🎄A Man… 😂😂😂
Here are some of the best pieces I gleaned, followed by my honest and polite responses: (Buckle up!)

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1.  “Be Prepared.”

No sh*t Sherlock.  As opposed to waking on Christmas Eve and remembering to buy a turkey and gifts? Seriously…  This is a useless piece of advice. It’s like telling a woman to calm down.  When in the history of the world has telling a woman to calm down, resulted in her calming down?  Never. So telling a Mammy to “Be Prepared” for Christmas, is NOT helpful.
2. “Buy gifts throughout the year and wrap them as you go.” 

Now this one I can partially agree with, except S-Mum’s version would read “Buy gifts throughout the year, put them somewhere safe and then forget all about them until the week before Christmas, when you have all the gifts bought and then open a box or bag or suitcase and find all the PawPatrol jigsaws you bought in July.  Or even better, find them when you’re putting the decorations away in January!”

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3. “Choose a theme for your gifts to add that personal magic”. 

Here’s a theme.  Shut.  up.  Most of us just about manage to buy for everyone we have to buy for.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll remember someone on Christmas Day and freak out with guilt and embarrassment and mumble some crap about it not being delivered on time, before popping to the loo to order on Amazon with next day delivery.

(But if you doooooo want to add a personal touch and be remembered fondly by your loved ones, put glitter🦄 into all of the cards and gifts so that their floors get clattered and you are applauded for spreading the magic of Christmas. Go ahead, I dare you! 😂😂)
4. “Place delicate or expensive ornaments on higher branches.

Ok this one, I can empathise with.  Especially if you have toddlers or dogs. 🐶But in reality, put delicate or expensive decorations in the ATTIC and leave them there until 2026.

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5. “Ice the Christmas Cake 2 weeks before Christmas”

Or in real life, remember on the 23rd that for some reason you need a Christmas cake to have in the kitchen which will never be cut or eaten.  Then you’ll  either pop to Marks of the Spensive or decide not to bother with cake this year. Either way, it doesn’t really matter does it?
6. “Decorating the home should be a family occasion followed by a family meal.”

Oh really? Should it really? If by “family meal” you mean a bottle of wine after the kids have all gone to bed, then yes…yes this is true. 😅

Decorating the home is, for most, a painful and highly stressful process which generally takes more than one afternoon and involves tears, mess and even declarations of divorcing children… and husbands.  If you can get the actual tree up in one go, save yourself the stress and put everything else up by yourself, on your own, without the rest of the family annoying your head.  After bedtime is ideal.😘😉
7. “Keep alcohol locked away.”

Out of the reach of children yes, but keep the key in your frilly fricking apron Mammy Poppins.
8. “Stock up on essentials:  batteries, bread, milk and cream.”

Why there is no gin or wine on this list, is beyond me.

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9. “Go Christmas Shopping without children. Bring a drink and a snack with you.” 

Who the hell wrote this? It is common knowledge that drinking while shopping with your children is frowned upon in civil society.  Oh… they meant for the children?  Ohhhh… I knew that.  Well, here’s an idea.  If you can get someone to mind the minions for an hour, OF COURSE, go Christmas shopping without them. Then, if you really want to follow the Perfect Mammy rule book, have a drink and eat all the snacks… by yourself!
10. “Create a cleaning schedule for your home to keep on top of things this Christmas”.

There aren’t enough swear words for this one. A Cleaning Schedule? Who the hell has time to write a cleaning schedule? In the time it would take me to write a cleaning schedule, I would probably have half the cleaning done.  If you can keep floors lego free and counters salmonella free, you’re doing great! You deserve a treat. 💚

Riddle me this Mammies?  Why would you spend hours cleaning before opening the boxes of decorations that are going to cause the whole place to need hoovered and dusted again in an hour anyway?  Why?

So there were the Top Ten pieces of advice from the various Perfect Mammy websites…

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There were a few little nuggets in fairness.  Some of the better advice included “Scale down your expectations”, “Invent your own traditions”, and “Give yourself a break.”  

Another gem that I completely agree with is “Buy disposable baking trays”: I stock up on aluminium turkey trays every year and everything is cooked in them.  It’s a life saver!

Alos, Yes to shopping lists. And sublists. (Any list!  I do love me alist!)  Plan your meals for Christmas week and do the shopping based on the list.  It will save you from buying piles of stuff that you won’t actually use. Will you actually use that goose fat or are you only buying it because it’s beside the cranberry sauce you’ve lifted…that no one in your house eats.

AND  remember to factor in Christmas Eve Dinner too.  Don’t do my speciality… realise you have a fridge full of food and nothing for the dinner when you finally get back to the house on Christmas Eve.  This will lead to arguments about who is going to the shop AGAIN, or toast for dinner.


The “Preparing for Christmas” articles largely did what they always do however; they put undue pressure on already busy parents to stress themselves to create a Hallmark worthy perfect Christmas card-esque scene that, in reality, is nonsense.

Do what YOU want to do.  Buy what YOU can afford.  Cook what YOU like to eat. If you don’t like mince pies, don’t fricken buy them. If you want to let your kids open all of the presents on Christmas morning, do it!  If you like to wrap all the everything, do so.  If you don’t, DON’T!

It’s that simple.  We don’t need a survival list to survive Christmas, we need to give ourselves a break and enjoy it, because if you take a second to stop and look around you, often in the midst of lost presents and superfluous food shopping, you can see a little bit of magic without having to buy it.

A perfect family Christmas is like a Perfect Parent… all that’s REALLY needed is love and what works for YOU!
What is your favourite “Survival tip” and why?

I am Snapping Instagranny Mum

Don’t you just love Instagranny?
The instanty instantaneous instanial portrayals of fabulosity and perfection. The filters.  The hashtags. The generally innocent fun…
The absolute instabullshit that it is. 😂
Now, don’t get me wrong.  I do enjoy the Instagranny. I like posting funky and funny snaps of my day and I HAVE been known to post pictures where I happily look like a spotty, wrinkly badger’s arse, my house is akin to a Game of Thrones Battlefield and other such real life crap #nofilter.
But of course, I also like to post pretties. I don’t usually filter if I’m honest, but whatever, who cares right?
Well, we should care.

Because we need to understand that what we are seeing on Instagranny is usually a load of fabricated instashite.  I can create a veil of instaperfection to hide anything.

I did it today.

If you look at my profile, you’ll see smiles, cuteness, playtime and fresh aired fun.

And yes, all of these things did happen today.

We actually had quite a nice chilled out kind of day.

But here are some of the things that happened today that I didn’t insta:
I woke up with a splitting sinus headache and really thought I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.

Of course, I HAD to get out of bed! 😂

By 9am I had shouted at Mini-Me 4 times. She had ignored me 13.

We stayed in our PJs until 2pm.

I mopped the floors and 34 minutes later, had to get the hoover out again. I swore a bit.

Princess cried for no apparent reason for a full hour, then poonamied.

No one ate their dinner.

Princess got her hand stung by a nettle.😭

My skin looks like pizza.

I need a shower.

I feel a tad emotional as it’s a special person’s anniversary today. 💙💙

I said “Get off the dog” and “get off your sister” 369 times, sometimes in the same breath. 😂

Mini-Me cried hysterically when I made the mistake of mentioning that the flowers she picked were alive… (more on that another night.)

Then, Just before bed,  when I thought we’d FINALLY made it to “calm time”, Princess pulled a plate of cold uneaten pasta all over herself and my (newly feckin mopped) floor and Mini-Me decided to faceplant the tiles in the hall and scream for 15 minutes.  (She’s fine thank God, but I can still hear the bang of her hitting the floor.)😭
But the BEST one? 🤐🤐
As I was putting the toothpaste on her toothbrush, Princess walked up behind me and…
BIT ME ON THE ASS.
Yup, she ACTUALLY BIT ME.

On my ass.

I thought she was giving me one of her “leghugs”, but nooooooo.  She sank her little teeth right into my upper thigh. And holy Christ, she has some jaw strength.

I am bruised.

(I shall desist from snapping that!😂)

Now, if I had had the wherewithall, time or energy to instagranny all of THAT ☝☝☝ ,

1. I’d actually be a shit mum because it would have taken hours

2. My account probably would have been shut down for public health and child protection breaches

3. No one would think I was instaperfect and that would be instaterrible 😂😂😂 #sarcasm
So there.
A wee reminder that what we are looking at on our instafeeds and of course, EVERYWHERE else, is NOT ALWAYS REAL.
We don’t tend to share the shite parts, or indeed the NORMAL parts of our day.  Today, feeling as grumpy and fooked off as I am, I consciously posted only the lovelies. They make me smile. They might make you smile. (My girls ARE adorable yes, I shall give them that.)
But if nothing else, the image below is only a SNAP of the full day.  A normal day. A typical day. A not very exciting, but satisfactory day nonetheless.
Ok, I don’t get bit on the ass every day, but I do have instaperfectly insta-IMperfect days.
How was your day?

#nofilter #knowwhatsreal
(PS… Black and white works wonders on badger’s arse syndrome! 😂😂😘)